“The Lake Poets”…..?
“Lake Coleridge” blurted out Joe, trying to appear intelligent. “No” said Ian “Too obvious. And it’s a fairly small lake with nothing to interest a man like Mark Liston.”
“Did he say anything else?” “Well.. I asked him if he intended going tramping or skiing, although knowing Mr Liston that was unlikely” Ian nodded, Liston had always been a lazy sod, choosing to drive to University instead of the short walk from his flat in Ilam.
“He just said he felt like having a rest”. “From what” thought Ian – “not his essays. They always seemed to be the work of someone whose mind was at rest too often”.
“Wait a minute” said Ian. “I suddenly have the need for a particular type of book.” He whispered into the ear of the owner of the shop. “We certainly do” he said to Ian Temple as he led him to a particular bookshelf and then pointed to the spine of a book.
“I’ll buy it now” said Ian, although unsure how often he would use it beyond this one particular task he had. Cash came out of his wallet and was handed over. “Oh well” , he thought, “I’ve always liked to support local and this was his favourite local businesses”.
“A guide to Maori Place names. Ian flicked through it, as if he knew exactly what he was looking for. “Ha” Lake Tekapo” – the name was originally Takapo – taka meaning sleeping mat, po meaning night. It was a place where Maori journeying across the South Island would stop for the night, that is, “have a rest”.
“Very good Mr Temple” exclaimed Joe. “How did you figure that one out?” “ Young Liston always had a side interest in te reo Maori and particularly Maori place names”. “So we’ll be heading inland then” asked Joe? He’d never been there and was quite excited at visiting a place he’d heard many good things about.
The next couple of days were spent preparing for what for many, would seem like a holiday. But, for Ian and Joe it was preparing for the worst. Mark Liston had gone a long way to keep his secrets to himself and would probably kill them if it appeared that they would ruin things for him.
It had been a long time since Ian had been on holiday. He asked Joe “ what do you think I should bring?”
“We’re dealing with a potentially dangerous man. I’m assuming you’ve got your own bullet-proof vest?”
“He should be afraid of you “ said Joe “I can’t imagine a man more dangerous than Ian Temple or Alvin Taylor.”
“Let’s not forget Mark Liston made both Alvin Taylor and I who we are today” said Temple thoughtfully.
“Good Point” Wigram replied.
“Okay, we’ll need some weapons said Ian
“I’ve got a gun that I usually keep at home”.
“You scum,” said Ian, “You never let me have one.”
“No because your behaviour in public could be fatal if I allowed you to walk around with a gun. I let you take it to Robert Green’s office”.
“And just as well.”
“Look, Ian, be thankful, I’m giving you another chance to carry your gun. Just remember, using it is not compulsory.”
“We’ll see about that. It may have to be used. And what about transport to Tekapo Joe.?
“I’ve a friend who drives a tourist bus out to Aoraki/Mount Cook via Tekapo.
“So no questions asked”?
“Don’t worry about it. He’s an old friend who owes me a favour.” Ian was suddenly alarmed at Joe’s casual attitude.
“So we go south through Rakaia, then Ashburton before turning west through Geraldine”.
Geraldine. That name stuck in Ian’s mind like a nasty splinter. His Mother’s name. The woman he never even tried to protect from his Father’s irrational rage. Sure, he was bigger and stronger than Ian but he could have called the police. He should have tried something.
The bus was going to leave tomorrow from outside the museum. Joe borrowed some packs so he and Ian would look more like genuine backpackers with plans of exploring the mid-Canterbury lakes.
“I’m still wondering, why Mark Liston would go to Lake Tekapo. There’s nothing there” mused Joe.
“You’ve just answered your own question Wigram. He wants to be far away from everyone.”
The Canterbury Plains are flat and wide. After hours of the same visuals, Joe began to fall asleep. He had the window seat to lean his head against; preferable to sleeping on Ian’s shoulder.
At Rakaia they crossed over the longest bridge in New Zealand. Neither Joe or Ian had been here before so a trivial flicker of interest kept Joe awake for a short while. Ashburton was a town they’d both been through, and neither had found it interesting other than as the place where the bus turned off the main highway west on State Highway 77. It did improve the view of the Southern Alps. Before they reached Tekapo, the bus wen through Fairie. “Fairly boring”, was Joe’s opinion.
“Fish and Chips for Dinner in Fairlie. And, where are we going to sleep in Tekapo?” asked Ian. “Well”, said Joe slowly, knowing that Ian might hate his idea. “We’re dressed as backpackers so, why don’t we stay in a hostel”?
“No” said Ian immediately. “I never have and I never intend to do so”. “What do you hate about hostels?” asked Joe,
“I’ve just heard some bad things” replied Ian. “But you’ve never stayed in one yourself?” said Joe ironically.
“Well this should expand your range of experience.”……
So. Temple and Wigram are on a bus in the mid-Canterbury lake district of New Zealand searching for the transformative Mark Liston…..and finding psychologically acceptable accommodation…… what next? And you can find all the episodes of Nick’s novel in our ARTbop archives in WORDS….
Nick Scott Nick Scott has a B.A from The University of Waikato where he studied film under Sam Edwards. Nick has retained a keen interest in cinema. He studied Te Reo Maori at Te Wananga O Aotearoa part-time for 3 years and then from 2014 to 2016 Nick collaborated in writing “The Traveller’s guide to Maori Place Names”. Nick is a regular Film Reviewer on ARTbop. Check out his film reviews on ARTbop. 2021 and Nick has several new projects on the go…….
Lake Tekapo, one of the wonders of the night world…